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Brigham and Women's Hospital launches its first live web surgery program to educate physicians and inform the public

First webcast will demonstrate innovative cancer procedure
First Broadcast Live,
March 6, 2003 at (00:00 UTC)
From Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA

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BOSTON - For the first time, surgeons at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) have broadcast cutting-edge surgeries over the web, in an effort to familiarize doctors with new surgical techniques and to inform the general public about medical advances.

An archived version of the program, first broadcast March 6, 2003, is now available.

Doctors from other hospitals and medical schools, along with the general public, can view the surgery performed  MORE...

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BOSTON - For the first time, surgeons at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) have broadcast cutting-edge surgeries over the web, in an effort to familiarize doctors with new surgical techniques and to inform the general public about medical advances.

An archived version of the program, first broadcast March 6, 2003, is now available.

Doctors from other hospitals and medical schools, along with the general public, can view the surgery performed by Ronald Bleday, MD, chief of the colorectal section in the BWH Department of Surgery. The procedure is narrated by Michael Zinner, MD, Surgeon-In-Chief, BWH.

"As a large academic medical center and one of the best hospitals in the country, we decided to launch the webcast program because there are surgeries that are performed here that are simply not done at most hospitals," said Zinner. "Our hope is to educate doctors and the public about new procedures and technologies that offer patients better treatment options."

The first webcast is a specialized rectal cancer surgery known as a Total Mesorectal Excision (TME). During the procedure, surgeons dissect and remove the cancerous area of the rectum, including the fatty regions where the lymph nodes are located. The surgery is considered innovative because, unlike other similar surgeries for rectal cancer, Bleday will be using nerve and sphincter sparing techniques. Other resection techniques often result in the patient becoming dependent on a permanent colostomy bag.

TME patients have also been shown to have lower recurrence rates, lower levels of incontinence and impotence and better overall survival rates compared to other resection techniques. Many doctors suggest that, for patients with locally advanced rectal cancer, TME should be considered first before other treatments.

"This kind of procedure underscores why we have chosen to host these web-based educational forums," said Zinner. "This is a surgery that has yet to be widely adopted, but the results hold so much promise for certain cancer patients that we feel it's important to share our expertise in this area with other doctors, and the public."

During the webcast, the operating theater will be staffed with two camera teams. Those viewing the procedure will be able to query Zinner about the surgery and the disease, and will be able to hear him describe the procedure.

BWH is a 716-bed nonprofit teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School and a founding member of Partners HealthCare System, an integrated health care delivery network. Internationally recognized as a leading academic health care institution, BWH is committed to excellence in patient care, medical research, and the training and education of health care professionals. The hospital's preeminence in all aspects of clinical care is coupled with its strength in medical research. A leading recipient of research grants from the National Institutes of Health, BWH conducts internationally acclaimed clinical, basic and epidemiological studies.